56 ingredients from herbs.
Maceration: the beginning of each new batch of Jägermeister. The procedure is very gentle – something that has never changed. Now let’s take a closer look at what’s involved… The word macerate is derived from Latin and means “to steep”. Before the steeping can begin, however, the material to be steeped must first be prepared: our secret blend of botanicals. First, the individual herbs, blossoms, roots and fruits are weighed according to the recipe then they are ground using mills. Different mills ensure that the grinding result is neither too fine nor too coarse. Grinding ingredients too finely results in the essential oils evaporating too easily. Grinding herbal ingredients too coarsely results in their essences being too difficult to extract. To facilitate handling, varying mixtures are prepared as early as the weighing and grinding stage, differentiated according to flavor and the pore size of the ground material. Essences can be more easily extracted from macroporous herbs. Finely pored herbs require a lot more time in the subsequent maceration.
At last it’s time for maceration: an alcohol-to-water solution of 70% is added to the herb mixture. The liquid extracts the essences from the herbs, allowing them to dissolve. The process is similar to brewing tea, except that in this case it’s alcohol rather than heat which facilitates the extraction of herbal compounds into the liquid base. The herbs must remain in the mixture of alcohol and water for several weeks until the maceration process is complete.
The various macerates from the first step of production are then combined with each other to produce the dark brown base material, before starting the refinement process.
Maceration is a very complex process that requires a lot of skill and finesse from our master distillers. Producing the base material, with its slightly more than 50% vol. of alcohol, is a long process. It is thus exclusively manufactured at our factory headquarters in Wolfenbüttel.
After the base material is filtered for the first time, we have to wait for a whole year. During this time, the still bitter base material is stored in solid oak barrels, where it gradually matures.
Good things come to those who wait. Following maceration and the first filtration, the Jägermeister base material rests in oak barrels for at least one whole year. But why is the use of oak so important? Oak has a very dense structure, which means it lets in just the right amount of oxygen. Oxygen is essential to making Jägermeister: no oxygen, no maturation process. No maturation process, no Jägermeister. It’s that simple. Three cheers for wood at this point, as its pores allow the exchange between the Jägermeister base material and oxygen, ensuring that different aromatic compounds that are important for its future flavour even begin to develop in the first place. The high humidity in the barrel storage facility provides for a nearly constant temperature between 17-20°C.
What belongs together comes together: the Jägermeister base material is refined, purified into a herbal liqueur, tested and filtered again.
After maceration (the 1st production step) and the first filtration (2nd production step), and the subsequent year-long aging in oak barrels (3rd production step), the fourth step of production filters the base material of the emerging Jägermeister for the second time. It is then mixed with alcohol, caramel, a sugar solution and softened water. The result is the finished Jägermeister.
While storage takes a lot of time, things really get moving again with the dosage process. Up to 30,000 litres of Jägermeister can be produced in one hour. The next step is the third and final filtering. Jägermeister is first coarsely filtered, before being finely filtered. But what’s the reason for that thorough filtering process? The filtration separates the dregs from the semi-bitter liqueur to achieve the desired purity, without losing aroma and flavour. The laboratory analysis is the final step, in which the prospective Jägermeister is critically inspected and approved by laboratory technicians and food chemists. Once they give the go-ahead, it is filled into stainless steel tanks for temporary storage.
These tanks are connected directly to the bottling factory.